Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Tao of the Magic Performer

So, I have been hired as of recent to create and design the magic for "The Cherry Orchard", a play by Anton Chekov that is playing Off-Broadway in New York City. The script is calling for several different illusions, which all happen in Act III of the play. The first is the appearance of a woman from behind a rug that is lifted and then dropped onto a bare stage. The others require teaching a character in the show finesse with a deck of playing cards. Both of the pics shown are of me teaching Julie, the lead actress in the show how to handle a deck of cards like a court jester. More important than the actual effects in the show is the ability for the actor(s) to handle the props of a magician as if they are/were "magicians." This is the Tao of Magic and is in many ways, what great magicians have achieved. It is the perception of magic rather than the naked effect that creates the illusion. As I often tell actors and other magicians, the magic really happens in the audience's mind. To that end, there are techniques, some very subtle that will convice the audience of a particular character's "magic." Actors in this role need to have the body language and the inner psychology of the magician. That is what I am trying to teach Julie in these photographs.
More on the production and the subsequent illusions I am creating as we move forward.
Stay tuned!